Valmont Industries Earnings Call Nuggets: Macro Drivers, Utility Segment Update

On Friday, Valmont Industries, Inc. (NYSE:VMI) reported its third quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Macro Drivers

Arnold Ursaner – CJS Securities: I’m sure you will get a lot questions on Utility, so I’m going to try to ask a couple on EIP. We have got some pretty important changes that could impact 2013. The TIFIA highway impact could drive demand. You mentioned the wireless build out which is accelerating and we also have a possible expiration of win credits which would again more affect the Utility piece. When you think of these macro drivers how are you thinking about the EIP piece for the balance of this year into next year?

Mogens C. Bay – Chairman and CEO: I will address Utility and then I will turn over to Terry to your specific question on the highway bill. In the Utility business, yes, the current production tax credits are expiring. Our Utility people do not see that having any meaningful effect on the overall activity level in the Utility business and on the highway bills area, Terry?

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Terry J. McClain – SVP and CFO: On the highway bill, Arnie as you know, first of all we expect that to be impacting in 2013 somewhat the fact that we have a two year highway bill. As we understand the TIFIA piece which allows some additional financial incentives for the states. Our people don’t see that that will make a major difference – many of those projects are already in place that that will make a major difference in demand, but we do see that will support this because of the two year commitment on highway funding.

Arnold Ursaner – CJS Securities: My second question if I can, can you update us on your India facility and how that’s ramping?

Mogens C. Bay – Chairman and CEO: Actually, we have two facilities on one campus. We have a coal plant that can do both small coals and large coals and we have now the largest galvanizing bath in India, both have started up, both are seeing increased activity levels I’m being told. I’ll be there next week. So, I can give you a firsthand impression after that, but we are seeing those facilities ramp up according to plan. But again keep in mind this is one new plant in one new market, so it’ll be a while before you will have any meaningful impact on our overall results from that.

Utility Segment Update

Brent Thielman – D.A. Davidson.: Yeah. I guess just first on the Utility segment you mentioned improved sales mix, (limited) margins in the quarter. Can you just kind of update us on where you’re at with some of the less profitable contracts you’re working on?

Mogens C. Bay – Chairman and CEO: First of all, yes, you noticed that we have improved quality of earnings in that business in the quarter. We continue that – we expect that trend to continue and we are seeing a very high level of activity with record backlog.

Terry J. McClain – SVP and CFO: To follow-up, we are still seeing some previous business that was rolling through that taken in the 2010, 2011 from a margin perspective and then some of the (indiscernible) on a lower margins business still part of that mix.

Brent Thielman – D.A. Davidson.: I guess just the cash levels here are sitting at pretty strong levels, could you just kind of update us what you’re looking to do here as you jump to (indiscernible) how is the share?

Mogens C. Bay – Chairman and CEO: Well you know as usual, we are one, funding organic growth and two, we are constantly looking at acquisitions and as you know, you can’t time when they happen, but we have a lot of active initiatives and conversation going and currently we will be continuing to build cash and hopeful we’ll find the place to invest this with good returns for shareholders.

Brent Thielman – D.A. Davidson.: Any areas in particular you’re looking at there?

Mogens C. Bay – Chairman and CEO: No, I wouldn’t say so. I would say that we don’t have a priority geographically. We don’t say we must invest this internationally as opposed to North America and we don’t have a business. You don’t know, it all comes down to what kind of returns will we find, with the acquisitions we look at.